KATE Middleton looked in no mood to party today as her 38th birthday was wrecked by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bombshell decision to step down as senior royals.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, Meghan and Harry said they plan to be "financially independent" as they "carve out a progressive new role", but will still support Her Majesty.
Royal author Phil Dampier said that Kate's special day has undoubtedly been ruined by Meghan and Harry's news.
He told Fabulous Digital: “Apart from anything else Harry and Meghan’s announcement has overshadowed Kate’s 38th birthday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed they plan to split their time between Britain and North America - a move said to have left the Queen "deeply upset" and Charles and William "incandescent with rage".
What we know so far
- Harry and Megan are set to make millions from commercial deals
- Queen 'deeply upset' and first heard about the bombshell statement on TV
- Insiders claim Meghan has 'taken total control' of Harry's life
- New life in Canada will see Sussexes become eco-vandals
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 'felt totally unwelcome' in Royal family
“It’s just another example how far the so-called Fab Four have drifted apart and I doubt Harry and Meghan will be at any celebrations for Kate.
“It’s a sad day for the monarchy that these two brothers and their wives, who had the potential to be such a positive force are now in this position."
The Queen and Prince Philip wished Kate a "very happy birthday" today and Prince Charles and Camilla also passed on their well wishes.
Meghan and Harry left a comment on Kensington Palace's birthday post for the duchess, which said: "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!"
This is not the first time Meghan and Harry have overshadowed other celebrations in the family.
The Daily Star reported that Princess Eugenie was left "on the brink of tears", as she felt that her wedding had been "overshadowed", after the couple shared their pregnancy news with the family on the same day.
Yesterday we reported no other members of the Royal Family were told before the bombshell announcement - with the Queen said to be "disappointed".
A curt statement from Buckingham Palace admitted discussions with the couple will be "complicated" and are at an "early stage".
An insider also told The Sun: "Their statement was not cleared with anyone.
“It breaks all protocol. This is a declaration of war on the family. The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage."
Kate celebrated her birthday with close friends at the weekend in Norfolk, and the duchess was pictured going to church in Sandringham on Sunday with her pals and parents, Carole and Michael Middleton.
But a palace source told Fabulous Digital that Prince William has also helped to plan a family get-together at Kensington Palace.
The insider said: “William has been in charge of sorting Kate's birthday, with major help from both Pippa Middleton and mum Carole.
It’s just another example how far the so-called Fab Four have drifted apart and I doubt Harry and Meghan will be at any celebrations for KatePhil Dampier
“Kate likes nothing better than handmade cards and pictures from her children, so there will be an abundance of hand prints, footprints, clay models and photos for Kate to be thrilled with.
“George and Charlotte with Norland Nanny Maria Borallo have a couple of surprises up their well laundered sleeves... with greetings apparently in Spanish and French.
“Both children love a microphone so it is thought they have recorded a birthday greeting or song.
“The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will remain at Sandringham.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in their surprise statement last night: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.
"We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.
"It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.
"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.
"This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.
"We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
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And The Sun has learned Harry and Meghan wish to keep Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate and want their security bill paid for.
It's also been claimed that the final straw for Harry and Meghan was the official release of a new royal portrait featuring The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.